Thoughts on Kingdom, Church, and Grace from an American living in Hong Kong

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Obama feels the Pinch!

I feel sorry for President Elect Obama. The man is trying to govern from a "centrist" position and take into account that there are a broad spectrum of interests who need to be represented. Already though, the moaning from the Radical Left has begun. ABC News reports that members of that fun little cabal are upset with some of the President-Elect's recent decisions.

The National Organization for Women thinks that 5 cabinet positions occupied by women are not enough and has taken Obama to task for not being closer to the 56% that represented his voting bloc of women during the election. Says Kim Gandy of NOW, "All of the women who supported President-elect Obama and Vice President Joe Biden believe that they are supporters of women's rights and had hoped for and expected some more tangible evidence of that in the Cabinet picks."

Angry NOW ladies??...don't envy Obama on that one.

Obama's decision to ask Pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at the Presidential inauguration has drawn the criticism of People for the American Way. Pastor Warren is the author of multi-million selling book, Purpose Driven Life which has been (despite my impression that it was a bit trite) a great blessing to many Americans. He is described as a moderate who is also passionate about social issues especially combating AIDS in Africa.

So why the controversy?

He believes that sodomy and homosexuality is not such a good thing...which puts him most likely in the same camp as every other minister giving a presidential invocation since the founding of the country. Not good enough says Marge Baker, Executive Director of PftAW, " Warren's rhetoric marginalizes and dehumanizes and inflicts a great deal of pain on a lot of people out there," said Baker. "It seems contrary to the values that Obama had been talking about."

Angry gays? Don't envy Obama on that one either.

The article goes on to say how the environmentalists are not happy with the appointment of Tom Vilsack as Agriculture Secretary. Among other things says Jim Harkness, president of the Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy, "We're... very concerned about how Vilsack tried to limit local governments to control the type of farming that goes on under their jurisdiction."

Stop the Presses! He wants to let farmers decide to farm what they like rather than what the government tells them to??

Angry environmentalists? Ouch, really don't envy Obama on that one.

As President-Elect Obama moves from being candidate to President, he will feel increasing heat from single issue advocacy groups who feel they are not receiving their "fair share" after "delivering" the presidency to him.

Hey, anyone who can tick off the radical feminists, the radical homosexuals, AND the radical environmentalists before he even becomes the President needs to be given at least a little credit from the Radical Right!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Republicans have been the latest whipping boy lately. When corruption or scandal erupts in America, the first reaction is usually to blame George Bush, the Religious Right, or Big Oil in that order. So I must admit to relief that the latest scandal to hit us comes from the Democratic side of the aisle.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois was arrested two days ago in a wiretap sting that saw the governor attempting to "sell" the senate seat vacated by President-Elect Obama for money and favors. Reportedly he was caught saying, among other statements, "The Senate seat "is a f---ing valuable thing, you just don't give it away for nothing." and "If ... they're not going to offer anything of value, then I might just take it,"


He goes on to muse about what he can possible "get" out of an Obama administration.

HUH?...Has this guy not been listening to President-Elect Obama for the last few months?

As someone who travels alot Internationally. I have always been proud of the relative lack of corruption in the United States when compared to other countries. I groaned inside when I first heard about this arrest. This level of corruption, the sale of a U.S. Senate seat, happens other places, not in America. But it does. Supposedly the reason for the wiretaps were because there had been previous suspicions directed at Gov. Blagojevich including pressure on the Chicago Tribune to have critics of the Governor fired.

Yes, its a sad day in American politics...

...and George Bush, the Republicans, the Religious Right, and Big Oil had nothing to do with it. Whew!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Sicko" and "Expelled"

Saturday afternoon. Cold and windy outside. Sounded like a good afternoon for some hot tea and a good movie. In the end Tammy and I watched two documentaries we had been wanting to see back to back. The first was Ben Stein' Expelled. Ben Stein, the famous monotone teacher from Ferris Bueller "Bueller...Bueller.." takes a look at the repercussions felt by scientists who suggest that there are serious holes with Darwinian evolutionary theory and that the causation needed for life could be intelligent rather than random.

Sounds fair enough you think? Think again! Scientists have been dismissed from universities, denied tenure, and faced academic discipline for mearly suggesting that the development of organic life may have an outside source. I find it curious how those who argue against Intelligent Design talk about God more than those who argue for it. You quickly see that if they can make the argument a religious argument rather than a scientific one, it can then be dismissed. The dilemma for them is that these are not Christian fundamentalists by and large, but respected scientists.

Ben first chronicles the horror stories of scientists who dared ask the wrong kind of questions. He then interviews supporters of Darwinian theory like famed scientist and author Richard Dawkins. You quickly realize these arguments are worldview in nature masking themselves as scientific...and each side is defensive of their worldview at the expense of scientific enquiry.

The second documentary was Michael Moore's Sicko which details the sad state of the American health care system. My own views on this subject have changed over the years mostly having spent 10 years in Hong Kong where, as a British colony, had universal health care which I took advantage of a number of times. I break with many of my Republican peers and support seeking a plan in the United States that will provide universal health care. When I developed tongue cancer two years ago the bills for tests, doctors visits, surgery, and hospital stays amounted to $100,000I was fortunate to have healthcare provided through my employer but when the only thing that kept me from paying that bill vs. crippling bankruptcy is a job at Barnes & Noble then something is seriously wrong with the system.

Michael, like Ben Stein, spends the first parts of the film chronicling the horror stories associated with our horrible health care system. He then goes to Canada, Great Britain, and Cuba to dispel the notion that "socialized" medicine is somehow sub par.

I find it curious then that Sicko received a 93% rating at (a collection of film reviews) and Expelled received a 10%. Both documentaries were entertaining as well as en lightning. Both were biased and gave little time for the otherside to express their views. As a film buff I also understand how editing can be used to re-enforce one idea and ridicule the other. Both Ben Stein and Michael Moore use these film techniques in abundance.

(Ross and Phoebe argue evolution)

However, Michael Moore received praise and Ben Stein received censure in the reviews. Many of the reviews for Expelled noted the "junk" science involved. And yet both films simply ask "Why?" questions.

Sicko asks why the the most wealthy nation on the planet cannot provide the basics of health care for its citizens?

Expelled asks why respected scientists are ostracized when they ask questions concerning holes in Darwinian evolutionary theory?

Its sad that in America some questions are not even allowed to be asked.